It is the sense of excitement. That is the difference between adults and children at Christmas. The children have a sense of excitement that the grown-ups have lost.
For the adults Christmas can mean a time of chores to be accomplished, of tasks to be performed. There are Christmas cards to be written and sent, presents to be bought and wrapped, shopping to be done, meals to be prepared. And the joy of Christmas can be overshadowed by the thought that eventually the credit card bills will have to be paid. The preparations for Christmas can seem like a burden and not a joy.
The build up to Christmas can of course be a painful time for children also, because they can’t wait for Christmas to come – for them there is the agony of waiting, of being patient. But it is a wait full of excitement for what lies ahead. For the children, Christmas is something special and they can’t wait for it to come.
In the Bible the people of the Old Testament are also waiting: year after year, the people are waiting for the Messiah, the Saviour, to come. They are waiting for the day when the Christ will be born, and as they wait they have the same longing and expectation and desire that our children now have as they wait to celebrate the birthday of Christ.
There are those who say that Christmas is for children. And so it is, but not just for them. Christmas is for all of us. This is a time when adults benefit from being in the company of young children for it is from the children that we catch the excitement that we have lost. Christmas is a special time as we mark the birthday of a special person. As Christmas day draws closer may we, all of us, have the excitement of the children as we look forward with joy to celebrating the feast of the birth of Christ.
Bishop of Galloway